There are many physical benefits to resting. But what are some of the spiritual benefits to resting?
In the Bible, we see a variety of different ways that rest from work is commended. In Genesis, rest is built into the fabric of creation and the character and nature of God. He rested after the seventh day. Later, when the Ten Commandments were given, a day of rest, a "sabbath," was built in as a remembrance and offering to God. The Sabbath became a hallmark, distinguishing the observance of which distinguished the Jews from the nations around them.
In the Gospels, we see Jesus taking regular breaks, periods of rest where he went off by himself to quiet places to be alone and pray. For Jesus, this was a habit.
Later, Jesus taught about abiding in him (John 15:1-4). In this teaching, Jesus discusses the spiritual value of rest through the idea of remaining, or abiding, in him. We bear fruit, Jesus says, by remaining in him. The corollary is this: if we do not remain in him, we do not, and cannot, bear fruit.
What does rest do for us, then? Physically, it recharges us. Spiritually, it revitalizes us. Sometimes, in our rest, we need a time of pruning. Jesus says that this happens so we will become even more fruitful.
What would a regular pattern of rest look like in your life? On an annual level, of course, are vacations and breaks from the usual course of life. But what about quarterly? Monthly? Weekly? Daily? How can you build in a time of resting in Jesus each day? How can you set aside time each week or each month to rest? How can you include your family or good friends in these rhythms?
Meditate on Jesus' teaching about remaining in him and discern how and where God is leading you to abide and rest more.